Lack of Funding in the Irish Video Game Industry
It is estimated that in 2016 the video game industry worldwide will generate a total worth of $99.6 billion in revenues, this is up 8.5% compared to 2015, this makes it the fastest growing sector of the entertainment industry by a large margin.
While the video game industry is showing rapid signs of growth, there are those in the industry that feel there is a lack of investment and encouragement by the Irish government and that without more of a focus on investment in the industry Ireland may be left behind.
Currently the Irish Government does not provide any tax breaks or incentives to attract investment into the Irish video game industry, this is in stark contrast to the U.K. video game industry which offers incentives such as offering to pay up to 80% of the production costs of a video games production costs so long as a significant portion of the production takes place within the U.K.
The situation in the U.K. is not unique, countries such as France, Canada, Australia, Singapore and the US all offer national or local incentives such as tax credits or subsidies for video game companies and while we in Ireland offer incentives and tax breaks for film and the arts, video games are not included under this banner and the industry is offered effectively nothing in government tax breaks and funding.
With the Irish game industry growing at a steady rate, there were people who noticed that Ireland had no representation at international events hosted abroad, an example being, the Game Developers Conference in California. Chris Gregan was one of the people who noticed this lack of representation of the Irish video game industry and realised the need for an organisation which could promote the industry abroad.
Chris Gregan is a board member of Imirt (The Irish Game Makers Association), co-founder of the Irish video games company Snozbot Games and Playfirst’s Chief Architect; he has created several narrative driven games with Snozbot and has worked on the hugely popular Diner Dash mobile game which has accumulated over 10 million downloads.
Chris and several others setup Imirt in an effort to create a cohesive group of game makers that represent Ireland abroad and which aims to draw attention to the Irish video game industry. Imirt says it will represent any game developer in Ireland who wishes to be a part of it and that its aim is to draw attention to Ireland and to showcase its attractiveness for foreign investment and funding.
I spoke to Chris about Imirt and about some of the issues facing the Irish games industry: